The Debate by Riwia Brown (1994)

Two teams of school debaters square off in this work around whether Te Reo should be the national language. The Māori team is against and the pakeha team is for. These days this idea may seem a little dated but it reflects our notions in 1994. Have we come any further? Why is there such controversy in making Te Reo mandatory in schools? Are the ideas you’re hearing in this excerpt still the same voices and ideas from now? How do we move further on? What participation will you have in the right/fight for Te Reo?

(Commissioned for the first Young and Hungry Festival in 1994)

About Riwia 

Ngati Porou, Te Whanau-a-Apanui and Taranaki, Riwia has been involved with Māori Theatre in Wellington since the early eighties, performing as an actor with Te Ohu Whakaari. Her first play ‘Roimata’ premiered at The Depot Theatre in 1988 and was later adapted for television and published by Playmarket in He Reo Hou a collection of Māori plays. She continued to write successfully for theatre and in 1992 adapted Alan Duff’s novel ‘Once Were Warriors’ into an acclaimed film. Since then she has worked on several national and international film and television projects as well as having a further two plays produced. Riwia lives Te Puke.

Additional links: 
New Zealand on Screen